Dec 15, 2009

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding to be Used for Immediate Asian Carp Control Measures

Majority of funding announced will be used to close conduits and shore up low-lying lands between Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal and adjacent waterways

Great Lakes Interagency Task Force Chair and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced $13 million in federal funding to prevent Asian carp from migrating further toward the Great Lakes.

“The challenge at hand requires the immediate action we're taking today,” she said. “EPA and its partners are stepping up to prevent the environmental and economic destruction that can come from invasive Asian carp. President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Congressional support have given us what we need to significantly and immediately reduce the risk of Asian carp reaching the Great Lakes and destroying such a valuable ecosystem.”

President Barack Obama has made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority, according to EPA. In February 2009, he proposed $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an unprecedented investment in the nation’s largest fresh surface water ecosystem. Congress approved that funding level and President Obama signed it into law in October. The funding for immediate carp control measures would come from the $475 million initiative.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified more than $13 million in funding needs for measures to deter Asian carp from moving closer to Lake Michigan. The majority of funding announced will be used to close conduits and shore up low-lying lands between the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal and adjacent waterways. Agencies remain concerned that, during times of heavy precipitation, water--and therefore carp--can wash from adjacent waterways into the canal. Initiative funding will support work by the Corps to reduce the risk of invasion from these collateral access points, EPA said. Some of the funding will support more genetic testing to pinpoint where carp may be in the Chicago Area Waterway System. The agencies will continue to identify other mechanisms for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.